Digital signatures have the potential to make a big impact on the real estate industry. Many real estate agents around the world are already using digital signature software, attracted by the possibility of saving time and streamlining client interactions.
In many respects, a digital signature is the equivalent to a handwritten signature, but a properly implemented digital signature can be even more difficult to forge than its handwritten counterpart.
Applications like Dotloop are leading the way with digital signatures by offering secured and paperless real estate transactions.
How does this stand legally in Australia?
There is no specific legislation regarding digital signatures for the real estate industry, however the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 does outline the following three requirements when electronically signing contracts:
- That a method is used to identify the person and to indicate the person’s approval to the contents,
- That the method used is as reliable and is appropriate for the purposes of the communication, and
- That the person who requires the signature has consented to the use of the method.
Taking into account the requirements of the act, here is why Dotloop could change the way we transact real estate:
Every signature is verified and certified
This includes a unique signature identification, the time and date of when the signing took place and information about the signer – including the IP address from the signatures location.
Tracking and logging of changes
Every change made in Dotloop is logged and tracked and can be retrieved in a number of ways from within the application.
Dotloop enables real-time collaboration, which is more secure than any standard PDF signing solution because it manages every version of the transaction in one place.
Securely embedded eSignatures
Dotloop’s eSignatures are securely embedded into the contract document itself, for the purpose of verification and fraud prevention and includes a link in the footer of the document. This means that if anyone attempts to fraudulently alter a document after it has been exported from Dotloop, there is still a record of the most current version.
It is always best to seek legal advice when implementing these kind of changes within your real estate business and reading up on the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 will help you make an informed decision.
For more information about how new digital strategies could work for your business, give Peter a call on 0419 538 838 for a free 15-minute consult.
Image by Andreas Levers via Flickr.